MND’s next top model: evaluating iPSC models by protein aggregates

To evaluate whether current cell models of MND accurately reflect the disease in humans by using imaging techniques to observe protein aggregation.

Cox, Dr Dezerae (1)

Lead Investigator: Dr Dezerae Cox

Lead Institution: University of Cambridge

MND Association Funding: £155,052* - Junior Non-Clinical Fellowship

Funding dates: July 2021 - June 2023

*Supported by The Lady Edith Wolfson Fellowship Programme, the Cambrigshire MND Association branch and the UK Government BEIS/DH Medicial Research Charity Support Fund

About the project

This project aims to use sensitive imaging techniques to enhance understanding of toxic protein aggregates. Preventing toxic protein aggregates being formed and causing damage are possible ways to treat MND, and the presence of these aggregates could be used for early disease diagnosis. However, detailed understanding of the shape, size and properties of these aggregates has been hampered by their low abundance and the fact they can form many different types of clumps. It remains unclear how well cellular models used in MND research best represent the real disease. Therefore, this project will also characterise and compare the protein aggregates formed in cellular models and patient-derived tissue to determine which cell model is most realistic.

What does this mean for people living with MND?

This project will help to increase our understanding the role that aggregates play in MND, which could lead to the identification of new targets for future treatments of the disease.

Resources 

Want to find out more about the project? Check out the resources below: 

Blogs:

Driving MND Research through our Junior Non-Clinical Fellowship Programme - MND Research Blog

Website:

Our Fellows | MND Association

As an MND Association Junior Non-clinical Fellow I will have the opportunity to learn cutting-edge techniques from world leaders in the field, and for the first time apply these techniques to the question of MND pathology. My tenure as a Fellow will strengthen my international collaborative network, forming the foundation for my transition to an independent research leader. The award of this Fellowship has been a career highlight, representing a substantial investment in my proposed research programme from international experts. The ongoing support of the MND Association throughout the pandemic has been a beacon of hope for my future in science.

Project code: 971-799

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